Sunday, March 27, 2011

Detroit Auto Show - hunting for the aux jack

I happened to be in Detroit in January during the annual Detroit Auto Show, so I spent a couple hours one evening exploring.

There is so much on display that it would be overwhelming to try to take it all in, so I focused on hunting for aux jacks.

My survey wasn't thorough enough to give a percentage, but I was surprised by how many car sound systems still do not come with an auxiliary jack as a default feature.

Back in the early 90s, when my car had a radio and a tape drive, I used to have a portable CD player in the car that I would play on the speakers using a device that inserts into the tape drive.  The sound was always pretty lousy.

The situation isn't much better today.  If you want to play your iPod or other MP3 player on your car's speakers, you might resort to a device that transmits the sound via radio waves that get picked up by your car's antenna.  I've gone through half a dozen of these devices over the years.  At this point it would have been better to invest in just upgrading my car stereo with one that takes an aux jack so I could plug the iPod directly into the stereo with a cable.  With so many people carrying some kind of device, I'm mystified why the car companies don't include the aux jack as a default.  I'd rather have the aux jack than a CD player.  Does anyone still carry CDs in their car?

Why does it take so long for car stereos to keep up with consumer electronics?

My dad sent me this comment:

An additional question is why car radios cost so damn much.  It always seemed to me that the auto companies charged about ten times as much as home systems cost.  There must be a huge profit in automobile sound systems.

From Detroit Auto show

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